really awful
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 10
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
276,733 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

2003 Dodge Neon electrical problems

electrical problem

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2003 Dodge Neon Owner Comments (Page 2 of 3)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #25

Sep 202009


  • 63,342 miles


I own a 2003 Dodge Neon that just shuts off while driving on a few occasions. I have read numerous blogs and such of others having the same problems. Without warning the car shuts down with a complete loss of power. Nothing electrical will work. I have had the car checked out and no problems can be found, no codes on the computer. When it does shut down it will not restart until I move the wires at the battery. Upon inspecting the battery wires they show no signs of wear, corrosion, being loose or anything of that sort. Upon testing the wires for a short found none to exist. The mechanics and dealerships claim there is no problem. Diagnostic computers find no problems. On three occasion thus far we have been in near accident situations, driving along and the car shuts down, and comes to an unexpected quick stop and with a loss of all power that may result in a fatal accident in the future. Cars driving behind me have no warning that I'm coming to a complete stop in the middle of the road sometimes unable to pull off the road to a safe area to come to a stop. As mentioned it seems to be a common problem with this car not only of this year but others as well. There should be a recall of some sort before someone dies if that already has not happened.

- Gulfport, FL, USA

problem #24

May 042009


  • 83,936 miles
Entire electrical system failure while car was in operation + premature activation of airbag. Driver was forced to claw the airbag out of his way in order to maintain control of the vehicle, and steer it off the highway. There was no known tampering with the electrical system prior to this; car was used, but had only body work done to our knowledge. Heat damage to electrical system was so extensive that car was considered a total loss. Driver suffered some facial and neck injury--possibly others.

- Sacramento, CA, USA

problem #23

Apr 102009


  • 90,000 miles
December 2008, headlights working fine during trip, stopped for gas, and headlights would not come back on. Used high beams for about 20 minutes and then switched to low beams were then working. Happened at least once a month for the next year. Early March, noticed a burning smell, thought it was outside, lights were working fine. While driving alone at night April 2009, tried to use high beams, but multifunction switch would not stay in place, had to hold the switch back for high beams to work. My hands became very warm sitting on the steering wheel, felt closer to the steering column and was incredibly hot. There was nowhere to stop, had to keep driving another hour or so. Stopped for 5 minutes and shut off vehicle, when vehicle turned back on, headlights wouldn't work. Had to drive with only parking lights at 2am, very unsafe! ever since, headlights no longer work. This has clearly been an issue, and it very easy to find information and other complaints about this same problem. This could have clearly become an even worse problem. Tried to replace the multifunction switch, but the plug was melted in place. Parts were burned black and brown and incredibly brittle from the intense heat that emanated from the wiring. This final problem happened at about 90,000 miles. I am still currently waiting to find the large sum of money to get this fixed. I am currently not able to drive at night, since I do not have proper lighting. Afraid to even use parking lights, as this supplies electrical juice to the switch and could possibly cause a fire, as I have read about other owner's problems.

- Jacksonville, FL, USA

problem #22

Sep 082008


  • 79,002 miles


My headlights and foglights would periodically shut off or not come on. Then only the brights would work and while driving would shut off altogether. Finally the headlights and foglights have stopped working. The marker lights and turn signals still work, but I have no illumination ahead of me. It required a switch and connector change. So far there are numerous other Neons that have had this happen to them and the dealer refuses to help us in any way, shape, or form. The old parts are still available for examination and the oem bulbs are still around as well.

- Fort Walton Beach, FL, USA

problem #21

Nov 152008


  • 60,000 miles
At 60,000 miles my 2003 Dodge Neon R/T started smoking from the steering column. At the time I thought it was dust caught by the sunlight and since nothing appeared to be wrong with my car, I forgot about it - one week later- I started by car and my headlights wouldn't work, concerned and remembering the "dust in the sunlight the week before, I called the Dodge dealership in the area and dropped off my car a little while later. Turns out the wiring harness on the steering column had overheated and melted together ( there was also a problem with the gas tank pressure but I could never get them to tell exactly what the problem was) luckily the harness was not completely destroyed so the wires could just be replaced. I asked them what caused the problem and if they were just replacing wires, well, wouldn't it happen again? once again all I got were vague non commitale answers, a 1,200 dollar bill, plus, I was refused a courtesy vehicle - yeah I had to foot the bill fr driving a rental car for a week. I research this problem and found that the 1996 Neon had been recalled for this same problem but the cause of the problem was never fixed, also, the PT CRUISER has the same defect. The dealership told me that it was not possible and basically what went wrong was my fault, some how. Again very vague and non-committal. I found out that unless a problem is a safety issue, meaning I guess that a few people have to die, a recall will not be issued.

- Blaine, WA, USA

problem #20

Sep 262008


  • 67,500 miles
My 2003 Dodge Neon srt-4 was making a funny smell at night then my lights went out and they would only work with my bright switch pulled back. I pulled apart and saw that my switch to my multifunction switch was burnt. I went to Dodge and they told me it was not covered under warranty. So I bought a new multifunction switch and plug. I do have all the old parts.

- Springfield, MO, USA

problem #19

Sep 152008


  • 75,000 miles


When I use my headlights for 15-20 minutes, I begin to smell a burnt plastic smell and notice the left side of the steering wheel gets very warm. After 20-30 minutes of headlight use the low beams just go dead, it "automatically" switches to high beams immediately. If I try to turn it back down to low beams, everything goes dark (*very* dangerous at night!). then I am forced to use high beams and blind everyone else for the rest of my trip, or I have to pull over and let the apparent cause (the multifunction switch) cool off for an eternity before resuming my trip. I'm highly uncomfortable knowing that my car has plastic behind the steering wheel on the verge of erupting into flames when I use my headlights. I also consider it extremely hazardous, not only for the fire risk, but also the low beams dying suddenly.

- Farmington, NY, USA

problem #18

Jun 042008


  • 70,000 miles
Wiring melted in steering column and head lights would not work. Had to have dealer repair wiring, replace headlight switch.

- Dallesort , WI, USA

problem #17

May 082008

Neon 4-cyl

  • 65,000 miles
I bought myself a 2003 Dodge Neon srt-4 last year. About 6 months ago smoke and melting plastic smell started coming out of steering column. The headlights and fog lights shut off on me one night coming home from store. (not good) the next day found that harness was melted at connector to the mfs to the headlights. I replaced the switch but fuses blow if fog lights come on or high beams. Plus it just started smoking again!

- South Berwick, ME, USA

problem #16

Oct 202007

Neon 4-cyl

  • 80,000 miles
Suddenly had no lights on vehicle exterior, headlights most notably. Mechanic replaced multifunction switch on steering column but showed me the plug for this multifunction switch has obviously been heating up because it has melted in several places. By the way I cant find a replacement plug yet.

- Lisbon, OH, USA

problem #15

Aug 252007

Neon 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 91,153 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Dodge Neon. The contact noticed smoke coming from the steering column after the vehicle was turned off. As of September 27, 2007, the dealer had not inspected the vehicle. The contact's son inspected the vehicle and stated that the media switch caused the failure. The current and failure mileages were 91,153.

- Puyallup, WA, USA

problem #14

Jan 032005

Neon 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 50,000 miles
While driving cross country home from visiting family for christmas, headlights, fog lights all quit while on the freeway. Luckily the moon was out full and a big truck was behind me with bright enough lights. I figured out I could have lights by holding the "flash" of the brights. I ended up jumping the fuse panel to get power to the headlights. Went to the dealership, told me problem happens a lot. But nothing they could do about it. Had to buy a new multi switch for $95. J

- Lawton, OK, USA

problem #13

Mar 222007

Neon 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 61,000 miles
Sometime last year I was having trouble with my fog lights. I would turn the switch to turn them on, but they would not turn on. I went to the dealer several times to get them fixed. I don't remember what the problem was, but they temporarily fixed them each time. Then about 1 week ago, I was driving my car and I noticed a funny smell and white smoke coming out of my steering column. So I pulled over and turned the car off. Every time you turned it back on, the steering column got very hot and white smoke would come out of it. I then proceeded to take it to my dealer. There was some melt down inside of my steering column, which came from the multi-function switch. My car insurance and my warranty would not cover the damage, which totaled $630.

- Baltimore, MD, USA

problem #12

Jan 162007

Neon 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 55,540 miles
Headlights, fog lights stopped operating, high beams will not stay on, must hold down the lever, multi-function switch connector melted. Car is inoperative until a fix is made. I have a 2003 Dodge Neon SXT. This seems to be a common defect with my year/make/model of car. Please institute a recall for this problem. To fix the defective part runs approximately $1,000 - $3,000 to fix by dealer. Please issue recall.

- Edison, NJ, USA

problem #11

Sep 112006

Neon 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
The problems first started when the fog lights on my 2003 Dodge Neon had started to come on even when the switch was off. They would do this any time I turned the wheel, or went over a bump. This had been going on for almost 6 months. Then about a week ago, my lights would not turn off. The lever wouldn't click when I hit it to turn them off. They continued to stay on, and then would turn off when they wanted to. After about a day I was driving home at night, and all of a sudden my lights turned off, and would not go back on. If there were no street lights, I could have gotten into a severe accident.

- Hopewell Jct. , NY, USA

problem #10

Aug 182006

Neon 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 65,000 miles
Headlights and fog lights not working. Multifunction switch shorting out, the 20 plug wiring harness that connects to the lights portion of the switch gets literally burnt and melts.

- Sanford, FL, USA

problem #9

Apr 072004

Neon 4-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 30,000 miles
Headlight switch and associated wiring harness shorted and melted resulting in loss of all interior and exterior lighting.

- Kennesaw, GA, USA

problem #8

May 152006

Neon 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 38,600 miles
Last week the car stared blowing the dashboard light fuse. I've replaced it 4 times, and they all blew with in a few minutes. The dealer said they spent 2 hours trying to find the problem. I paid the $100 diagnostic fee and three blocks from the dealer, the fuse blew again. I took back to them and will pay another $100 fee tomorrow. The factory warranty ran out 2600 miles ago, and I purchased Chrysler's best maximum car upgrade service contract so I would not have to deal with this kind of stuff, but it is not covered. Now I have a car I can't safely drive at night because I can't see the dashboard.

- Rio Linda, CA, USA

problem #7

Nov 202005

Neon 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 66,928 miles
: the contact stated while driving the transmission speed sensor shorted and caused the computer to short out. The engine and transmission completely locked and the vehicle stalled. The contact pushed the vehicle to the side of the road, where it was then towed to a certified dealership. The transmission and engine were replaced as a result of the damages caused by the sensor.

- Alum Creek, WV, USA

problem #6

Nov 112002

Neon 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 10,728 miles
I have a 2003 Dodge Neon that I bought brand new with one mile on it when I took it off the lot. Since that dreadfull day I have had problems with the vehicle starting around 10K miles. First some electrical componets in the sound system went out. From there I have had to have the rotors replacedbecause nearly every 5K miles starting around 10,500 miles. The car has a hard time starting when the temperatures get too close to 20 degrees F, when you get to zero forget it. I have had the battery tested my dealer charged me $30 some odd dollars to do that and said it is just me. When it gets too hot like around 85 degrees or so it runs like it is boging down. The fule injection sensors have gone out twice 200 miles appart and at this time the vehicle has nearly 33K miles on it. I have it serviced every 3K miles and have changed the air filter and spark plugs as directed. I also have all of my service receipts from the trips to the dealr I reguards to the electrical, break and injection work I have had done. The vehicle has also been taken to three diferent Dodge dealers hoping one would find something the others keept overlooking. More info can and will be provided if requested.

- Brooklyn Park, MN, USA

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